[TUHS] Unix, eunuchs?

Jose R Valverde txomsy at yahoo.es
Tue Jun 6 17:18:46 AEST 2006

First, my apologies if this message looks awful.

The pun might have stemmed from another variant. Like

The original poster was certainly not much aware of
UNIX history, so
it might as well come to him from an also less
knowledgeable user who
got it from a vendor of a EUNI* variant.

>From memory, I seem to remember at least a company
named EUNICE involved
with UNIX, and a UNIX-like environment for the VAX
(under VMS).

So, may be one of these later was actually named with
the 'eunuchs' pun
intended (perhaps as a castrated down UNIX system on
top of VMS)
and the pun circulated among some customers. For a
newcomer buying it,
it would be easy to assimilate *his* variant with
standard UNIX and extend
the pun. We just saw a similar confussion of LINUX
with UNIX from a poster
asking for LINUX v5, 6 o 7.

It makes sense as well to have a similar pun
circulated later, when other
operating systems which were arguably better (and I DO
NOT want to start
that discussion) or more extensive had to deploy
support for POSIX/UNIX
due to market needs.

To me it certainly has no sense having such an
association in a time like
the early 70s when it would have had a much stronger
emotional charge and
at a time when UNIX was still in its early


On Mon, 5 Jun 2006 23:41:06 -0400
dmr at plan9.bell-labs.com wrote:
> Michael Welle originally asked,
>  > last week a work mate told us a tale about how
Unix came to its
>  > name. He believes that Unix is named after the
term eunuch (a
>  > homophone of (to?) unix in english language). One
can see Unix as a
>  > castrated successor of Multics.
> The pun may have been at the back of Kernighan's
> but the original explanation was "one of whatever
> Multics was many of."  I think the quip about
> "castrated Multics" came from MIT.
> Incidentally, I don't think the Unics spelling ever
> in print, though I could be proved wrong.
> 	Dennis

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